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June 30 2022 9:47 AM ˚
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Parliament takes up amendments to Audit Bureau bill

Speaker of the House of Representatives Abdel-Munem Al-Oudat presides over a session of the House on Monday. (Photo: Amir Khalifa)
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AMMAN — Lawmakers discussed on Monday in a legislative session the amendments introduced to the Audit Bureau bill by the Lower House joint committee, comprised of the financial and legal committees.  اضافة اعلان

According to the bill, the president of the bureau “can preserve public money and fight corruption, and is able to take the necessary measures to collect public money in a timely manner”.

MPs approved amendments, that classify the Audit Bureau as a financially and administratively independent oversight body. 

Nimer Al-Sleihat, head of the joint committee, explained that the Audit Bureau’s budget approval procedures start with the bureau’s chief, and subsequently go to the General Budget Department, the Cabinet, and finally the Lower House. 

“Throughout the recent years, we have been going through financial crises, and our budget does not allow us to give luxury to anyone. We must control expenses,” the deputy said. Sleihat commented on the demand of some MPs to pass off the bureau’s budget to the House of Representatives without presenting it to the General Budget Department, calling it unacceptable and unconstitutional, adding: “We do not allow one institution to invade another.”

Speaker of the House of Representatives Abdel-Munem Al-Oudat, told Jordan News that this bill is very important because it “strengthens the moral, financial, and administrative independence of the Audit Bureau.” 

“The bill aims to keep the bureau away from the influences and pressures of the executive authority and its affiliated bodies that work under its supervision,” added Oudat.

Zaid Al-Atoum, a member of the legal committee, told Jordan News that “today’s session included a very important law, which is the legislation that the head of the Audit Bureau shall be subject to the judiciary in the event of criminal activity. However, the House of Representatives must vote by majority to agree to pursue him legally unless he is caught red-handed.”

The MPs also amended the article that states: “It is not permissible to inspect the office of the bureau without the approval of the prime minister, and in the presence of the public prosecutor, and any action contrary to this shall be deemed null.” 

Deputies scratched the requirement to get approval from the premier while retaining the need for the presence of the public prosecutor.

The deputies also added a new article that states will enable the bureau to “audit the computerized and electronic financial systems and processes of entities under the bureau’s oversight,” which will allow the bureau to monitor grants and aids submitted to the country. 

The Audit Bureau was established based on the provisions of Article 119 of the Jordanian Constitution to monitor the state’s revenue, expenditures, and methods of disbursement. The Audit Bureau submits a general report to the Lower House that includes its remarks and comments, and an explanation of the violations committed and the responsibility resulting therefrom, at the start of each regular session or whenever the House of Representatives requests it to do so. 

Lawmakers are set to continue discussions on Wednesday. 

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